West Seattle, Washington
Thanks to Lai Wong-Smith for the photos and report:
A West Seattle team is headed to the International Competition for MATE ROV (Marine Advanced Technology Education remotely operated underwater vehicle) after winning the Pacific Northwest Regional Competition (Saturday) with their underwater robot! The Junior Huskies took first place in the Ranger division at the Weyerhaeuser Aquatic Center with tough competition from teams throughout the region.
The independent team is comprised of four West Seattle 8th graders who attend Washington Middle School – Aidan Grambihler, Colby Smith, Graham Hyland, and Owen Tiffany. The team has known each other since Lafayette Elementary days when they played soccer together and built robots with Legos. Last year, their first year in the competition, they took first place at the Scout level. This year they jumped two divisions to the more advanced Ranger level competing with high school teams. Their mentor is Alex Miller, a West Seattle high school senior who won the International competition in 2015. A special thanks to their coach Hope Broucek for her dedication, and Alex Williams for his engineering guidance.
The international competition is in Long Beach, California, June 23-25th. This year’s competition theme is based on PORT CITIES OF THE FUTURE: Commerce, Entertainment, Health, and Safety. For more info on MATE and the competition, go here.
Story by Tracy Record
Photos by Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
An unusual backdrop for this morning’s annual Westside Awards breakfast … fog.
Salty’s on Alki (WSB sponsor) was the location as usual and as you know if you’ve been there, that usually means a spectacular view of the city skyline and Elliott Bay right outside the banquet-room doors. This morning’s fog meant nothing was visible behind the speakers but the deck and a couple of Canada geese strolling (and honking) on it.
Nobody seemed to mind. The spotlight was fully on the award-winners, after a few words from West Seattle Chamber of Commerce leadership – board chair Paul Prentice‘s welcome, and CEO Lynn Dennis‘s appreciation for the organization’s 200+ members and spirit of collaboration. That last attribute, in fact, played into one award-winner’s unique acceptance presentation – including the sign atop our story – you’ll see it later.
Keynote speaker was King County Chair Joe McDermott, introduced by Dennis as a third-generation West Seattleite, running down his local cred including scooping ice cream at Husky Deli, as well as his academic and political chops.
McDermott described the theme of his talk as “why we do what we do.” But first – history – the Beach Broiler, which was on the pier that now holds Salty’s, half a century earlier. Two years ago, he said, his family gathered to celebrate his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.
His career, McDermott said, traces back to the question “What are you going to do when you grow up?” For a while, he thought he would become a civil engineer, bui;ding bridges. A trip back east in his senior year changed everything. “I saw government up close and realized I wanted to go into public service.” His mother warned “there’s no money in that” – though, he said, she had spent her career in education!
“I believe I am still solving problems and building bridges,” he said. That included the resilience fund newly approved by the county on behalf of immigrants and refugees: “These are our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers” – and immigrant-owned businesses are worth $1.2 billion to the local economy. He talked about the fear sown by President Trump’s executive orders. “I’ve heard the real fear and apprehension in these communities.”
But with the resilience fund and education, “this further affirms that King County is a welcoming place … for everyone who resides here.” McDermott acknowledged similar work by the Seattle City Council – represented at this morning’s event by District 1 City Councilmember Lisa Herbold – having passed a defense fund for immigrants.
McDermott also spoke about the Access For All sales-tax measure sent to the August 1st ballot by the County Council this week. He singled out West Seattle’s ArtsWest and Southwest Seattle Historical Society as expected beneficiaries. “We will invest in programs that change lives and give kids more access to the same opportunities and help our communities thrive. Everyone in King County will benefit.” McDermott said the program also includes money for transportation, to take kids to sites such as the Pacific Science Center, Museum of Flight, and Woodland Park Zoo.
“The resilience fund and Access for All are two key King County Council achievements since the first of the year,” he declared. “… Know that your involvement is essential. E-mail me. Call me. Come to testify on legislation … let me know what your thoughts, your concerns, your interests are … not just me, but all your elected officials. … Let us know what’s on your mind.”
Then, to the awards, which Dennis explained are not a popularity contest – nominations are solicited from the community (not just Chamber members) each year, and carefully reviewed before decisions are made.
Strength, integrity, equality are qualities of hers, Evans said, recounting Throop’s background as a leader in not just elder care, but also in the LGBTQ community. “She is an amazing person,” Evans said.
He had also mentioned Throop’s mom, who she cited as inspiration. Ten years ago, Throop said, her mom declared she was moving to Seattle, and when she looked around to find support for her, she couldn’t. With what she learned, she started a business. “I truly love what I do,” she said – helping people, referring them to trusted professionals, “many of whom are in this room.” She spoke warmly of collaborating with other businesses, including many WSCC members. “They say beside every woman stands another great woman,” she declared, pointing out and thanking her wife Angela. She said the award was not only gratifying, but touching.
Next, Pete Spalding, chamber vice chair, introduced Dan Austin, proprietor of Emerging Business of the Year winner Peel and Press (WSB sponsor) in Morgan Junction. Spalding, who has long advocated for the West Seattle Food Bank, talked about Austin’s enthusiastic contribution to it, and to other fundraisers (like this one). He also is opening a second restaurant (in Boulevard Park).
Austin said he was humbled to accept the award “on behalf of my great team” – three of whom are in the photo above, with him – and said he felt it was on behalf of the entire small-business community in West Seattle, listing many others that “have all stepped up and helped contribute in these events.” He said working with the Food Bank has “been a blast,” and thanked his wife and two children for their help and inspiration. “To give back to the community is something I learned growing up and watching my parents,” he explained, recounting their volunteerism. “I feel incredibly blessed that (Peel and Press) has been received so well in the community … and we just want to continue to give back.”
While Austin said that concern about the City Council’s dealings with businesses was part of his motivation to expand outside Seattle, he thanked Councilmember Herbold for “sitting down and listening” to those concerns.
Spalding also introduced Southwest Youth and Family Services, recipient of the Not-for-Profit of the Year award. He talked about SWYFS’s evolution and addition of programs, with programs focused on youth development, mental help, family support, and education.
Executive director Steve Daschle and board chair Laura Ware accepted the award.
“It’s always meaningful to be recognized by your family and friends,” she said, noting that SWYFS has a “low profile … we’re known but not that well known.” She said “there are a lot of kids in our community who are scared… they need a safe place to go after school … if they come to this country and don’t know our language they may need (help) and Southwest Youth and Family can provide that.”
Daschle spoke of a recent event honoring kids, all children of immigrants and refugees, receiving scholarship awards to inspire them to complete their education and go on to college. “This will be the first time anyone in their family has completed high school, let alone going on to college … that’s what we’re all about … we’re about partnerships in transforming their lives.”
Finally, Prentice introduced Westsider of the Year honoree Maria Groen, someone he said he had known for 20 years. He spoke of her volunteer service as well as her professional work with nonprofits.
“So many other people deserve this,” Groen declared as she began, saying she was accepting it “on behalf of countless behind the scene volunteers … and do-gooders in our community.” She brought up some other “do-gooders” and said she wanted to inspire “anyone who is not yet engaged in their community” to change that and do something. She listed a long (and at times rhyming) list of all the ways you can help. “When you work for a greater good, you are forever changed.” Here’s how it unfolded, including audience participation toward the end (the sign-waving starts 2 1/2 minutes in):
That brought a standing ovation, after which Prentice wrapped up the event by urging everyone to check the Chamber website for upcoming events including a chance for everyone to honor Groen’s philosophy of being a “do-gooder” – by joining in a community cleanup on May 18th.
Just announced – and you’re invited:
This Friday, May 5th, from 5-9 pm, the West Seattle Chapter (#23) of DAV (Disabled American Veterans) is hosting a community potluck at their Chapter Hall, located at 4857 Delridge Way SW. The potluck is open to all. DAV provides services for men and women who were injured or disabled while serving our country. The warm people at DAV offer a welcoming place for vets and their families to connect with each other and receive support. Feel free to come and enjoy the food and community at this special West Seattle gathering in support of our local heroes.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
In this more-uncertain-than-ever time for nonprofits and the people they serve … you need to know who’s at work in our community, and what they do.
Toward that goal, more than 130 people gathered this morning in Hatten Hall, upstairs at the Senior Center of West Seattle, to celebrate what it does, and to raise money so it can keep doing what it does. Their generosity surpassed the morning’s $35,000 target, eventually totaling almost $40,000, executive director Lyle Evans told WSB this afternoon.
Never been to the Senior Center? It’s far from a stereotypically dour place with dour people. It’s a place with programs, services, and gatherings offering, among other things, food, fun, flexibility, and family – the one you find, as well as the one you were born into.
When we stopped by the Tibbetts United Methodist Church (WSB sponsor) book sale last weekend, we spotted Boy Scout Troop 282 working on the landscape and included a photo in our report. Now, it’s just been finished. Here are the before and after photos:
A troop parent sent the photos and update:
Tibbetts United Methodist Church (3940 41st Ave. SW) now has a new look, thanks to the hard work contributed by West Seattle Boy Scout Troop 282 and other recruited volunteers. This Eagle Scout Project, organized and led by Cade Carney, made considerable improvements to the landscape in the front of the building.
Work has been underway for several weeks but (Saturday) the last capstone was placed, completing the project.
Thanks to everyone who shares news of community volunteering and giving, and other good work – firstname.lastname@example.org any time!
Thanks to everyone who has written to let us know about this. A woman hit and killed by a driver downtown this week was a West Seattleite, a mom of two, beloved by many. Adriana Brown was only 36 years old, and described as “a fierce friend, an amazing coach, a brilliant trainer, a supportive co-worker, and a truly authentic person.” That description, and the photo at right, are from the GoFundMe page set up to help her family with immediate needs and to help meet a family goal Ms. Brown had set, a college fund for her daughters. In just a few days, the fund already has received a tremendous response. We have a request out to the fund’s organizer for any more information that can be shared.
One more tale of kindness before night’s end … this one, like the one we featured earlier today, happened in The Admiral District.
The photo is from Monica, who first messaged us this afternoon asking for advice on who to contact to help with ducklings that fell into a storm drain near Admiral/44th. Within minutes, she reported that bystander teamwork resolved the ducks’ dilemma:
With the help of a security guard at Bank of America, about 5 other people, and a really patient line of traffic on Admiral Way, we were able to lift the grate, hold a man while he hung upside down and grabbed the five (ducklings), and reunite them with the mama. The birds were so relieved and it was quite emotional seeing them all reunited. A big shoutout to the security guard who directed all the traffic!
The photo was from after the rescue – Monica says they followed the duck family a while to be sure they wouldn’t head back into traffic. This time of year, watch out for bird families everywhere … a duck family was also seen recently crossing the road in Fauntleroy’s Endolyne business district
Were you – or do you know – the woman who cared for a crash victim in Admiral about this time Monday afternoon? His mom, Paula, is looking for you/her:
On Monday afternoon around 1:20, my son was involved in an accident and was struck by a car by the Metropolitan Market, I received a call from his phone and it was not him on the line; a woman’s voice said, “your son has been in an accident and was hit by a car.”
I work at Costco so I was about 20 minutes away; the woman said she was a nurse and she calmly talked me through what was happening, but all I heard were the sirens of the emergency vehicles in the background, She stayed on the phone with me as I rushed through my warehouse to let people know I was leaving; the whole time she is not just comforting my son, she is making sure I am calm enough to drive to them. We hung up and within seconds the EMT called me, stating my son was doing good, there was no head trauma and from the looks of things he was just bruised up a bit and they would not be taking him to the ER.
Because my son said he was not hurt that bad and his injuries were minor enough that I could take him to his doctor, by the time I reached my son (maybe 25 minutes from the first phone call) he was sitting on the curb alongside the lady who took care of him and called me. I was so happy to see my son in one piece – I think I was as shaken up as he was – that all I recall was her telling me, that the driver stopped and felt terrible; he stayed until the police and medical service left, and with that I gave her a hug and took my son straight to his doctor, who after evaluating him said he was just going to be sore for a couple days.
I owe this woman so much more than a thank you – she is nothing short of an angel to our family and I really wanted her to know just how grateful to her we truly are.
You can comment, or e-mail us at email@example.com and we’ll connect you.
P.S. We didn’t have a report on this incident Monday afternoon even though we sent a crew that way after seeing the “Med 6” response on the 911 log (which usually means either a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcycle rider involved) – the scene cleared before we got there.
He’s the man who literally wrote the book on West Seattle history, and for the past 4+ years, he has been the main cheerleader for appreciating, stewarding, celebrating, exploring, and recording it. Today,Clay Eals has announced he’ll be making way for someone else – not yet hired – to lead the Southwest Seattle Historical Society. Here’s the news release:
The Southwest Seattle Historical Society soon will seek a new executive director to succeed heritage advocate Clay Eals, who has resigned after four-and-a-quarter years in the position.
In a letter to the organization’s board, Eals wrote that his decision to step down stems from “a desire to spend more time focusing on other aspects of my life.”
His departure will be effective in mid-July. The board plans to begin advertising for the full-time position later this month and hopes to fill the position in time for the successor to overlap with Eals, who has been involved with the historical society since its founding in 1984.
Eals became the historical society’s first executive director in January 2013. He expressed gratitude for the opportunity, adding that he is confident that the organization’s mission, track record and board leadership will result in continued organizational success.
The author, historian and ex-journalist wrote in his resignation letter that the timing of the transition would be “as good as it gets” for the organization.
“We just finished a huge phase of our Junction landmark campaign, and between now and mid-July several manageable events (including the Sea View Hall home tour) can be pulled off while attention is devoted to a hiring process,” he wrote. “Most important is that there is enough time to get a new executive director on board to become immersed in the planning and execution of our 2017 Champagne Gala Brunch.”
As executive director, Eals has seen himself as a pied piper, bringing together members, volunteers, donors, sponsors and community leaders to achieve and monitor landmark status for iconic buildings, assemble Group Hug photo events featuring school children and others at key sites, champion programs and collections of the organization’s “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum, deepen relations with the Duwamish Tribe, create and sustain two monthly speaker series, revive the historical society’s annual “If These Walls Could Talk” home tours, broaden the organization’s visibility, and deepen its financial viability.
Primary responsibilities of the position are fundraising, outreach, volunteer recruitment, staff supervision and overall management. In addition to the full-time position of executive director, the historical society has two paid part-time staff positions of curator and museum operations coordinator.
“We will so miss Clay in his departure from our organization,” says Karen Sisson, who became board president of the historical society in January.
“We have appreciated the guidance Clay has shown us,” she says. “Clay has left us in such a better place than when he came to the organization, so now we are able to take what he has given us, build on that solid ground and reach for the stars! We wish him well with his ventures and will welcome his involvement with us in the future as a seasoned volunteer.”
For more information on the search for a new executive director, please contact Karen Sisson at 206-579-0126 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Photo credit: Joanne Murray)
3 PM: Just in from the regional U.S. Attorney’s Office:
The former owner of three bars and restaurants in the Seattle area was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to eight months in prison, one year of supervised release, and $800,000 in restitution for multiple misdemeanor counts of failing to file tax returns, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.
Eric M. Galanti, 41, who now resides in Olympia, failed to file his business and personal tax returns between 2006 and 2012. Galanti owned several restaurants during that time including Alki Crab & Fish in West Seattle, the Admiral Pub in West Seattle, and Bourbon Jacks (aka Poppas Pub or Charlies Pub) in Kent.
At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones said Galanti “enjoyed the lifestyle of the ‘rich and famous,’… but every single year when April 15th rolled around a light had to come on that you owed taxes…. This was a flagrant and ongoing offense.”
According to records filed in the case, the lengthy investigation by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division found that Galanti’s businesses were generating significant revenues, but he failed to keep accurate records. Bank records show two of the restaurants had deposits of more than $7.7 million between 2006 and 2011. While he failed to file and pay his taxes, Galanti enjoyed a lavish lifestyle: using forged tax documents to facilitate his purchase of a $400,000 yacht; taking expensive trips to Hawaii, Las Vegas, and the Caribbean; and paying more than $10,000 for Kenny Chesney concert tickets.
“As we approach tax day, Mr. Galanti’s sentence reminds us of our legal obligation to file complete and accurate tax returns with the IRS. Today, Mr. Galanti, who willfully failed to pay $800,000 in taxes, learned the consequences of neglecting his duty as an American and as a small business owner,” stated Special Agent in Charge Darrell Waldon of IRS Criminal Investigation. “Instead of paying taxes, Mr. Galanti rewarded himself with lavish vacations and a new yacht. His decision to ignore his civic responsibilities caught up with him today.”
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Norman Barbosa.
We have a request out for documents in the case. You might recall that one of the named local establishments, Alki Crab and Fish, closed five years ago after losing the Seacrest Boathouse concession space to Marination.
3:40 PM: After reading through additional documents provided on request by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, here’s what else we have learned: The sentence follows a plea agreement reached in January, related to an indictment from March 2016. In the plea agreement, Galanti pleaded guilty to five counts of failure to file corporate tax returns. In the defense memo prepared for the sentencing hearing, it’s noted that Galanti gave up running his own businesses in 2015 and went back to working for his father, and is living with his parents in Olympia.
Are you dealing with memory loss – or related to/friends with someone who is? You’ll want to plan to be at this social gathering in West Seattle later this month:
People with memory loss, their family and friends, and all who support a dementia-friendly community are invited to attend a fun social gathering called “Rock the House.” Organized by local business owners, organizations, and neighbors, the event takes place from 3 – 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 27, at Shadowland in the West Seattle Junction.
Along with a chance to enjoy food, drinks, and good company, the event features MC Brent Amaker (of Brent Amaker and The Rodeo) and live music by Jay Cates (of The Bend). Happy-hour menu will be available. Event is free other than the cost of menu items ordered.
“I’m excited about this because I love to get people together, especially people in different situations,” says Frances Smersh [WSB photo at right], who helped plan the event. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to engage people and have a great time. And music is always good for the heart and the soul!”
Frances was diagnosed with dementia in 2015 at the age of 48. Since then, she and her husband John, the owners of Click! Design That Fits, have openly shared her diagnosis with the West Seattle community.
“It was important for me to share the news about my diagnosis,” says Frances, “because I knew I couldn’t hide from it, and I don’t think it does anyone any good to try to hide. Remaining engaged in the community is important to me personally, and it seems to be one of the best things for people dealing with memory loss.”
With over 100,000 Washingtonians, and over 5 million Americans, living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, Frances is certainly not alone. However, it can be easy for people with dementia to feel socially isolated. Although they remain vital members of the community, social stigma and other barriers can prevent them from staying involved and engaged.
In this context, a local movement called Momentia is empowering people with memory loss and their loved ones to stay connected and active in their communities. People and organizations are coming together to produce “dementia-friendly” opportunities in popular public spaces – like walking groups at Woodland Park Zoo, art gallery tours at the Frye Art Museum, and service projects at the Cherry Street Food Bank. (Learn more at momentiaseattle.org)
“For too long, a dementia diagnosis has meant fear, shame and isolation,” states Marigrace Becker, Program Manager for Community Education and Impact at the UW Medicine Memory & Brain Wellness Center. “People with memory loss and their loved ones deserve to stay engaged in their communities – and by working together, we can make that happen.”
Here in West Seattle, Momentia is taking off. In the fall, a group of organizations and neighbors involved in the Momentia movement hosted a community meeting for people with memory loss and their loved ones to develop their own dementia-friendly programs, making use of favorite West Seattle venues.
As a result, several new programs are in the works. In the new year, Providence Mount St. Vincent began opening up their drum circle to others living with dementia in the wider West Seattle community. Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Senior Center of West Seattle, and others are offering a 4-week creative arts and storytelling workshop for people with dementia and their loved ones.
And now, the Momentia group of West Seattle is proud to announce “Rock the House.” Whether you have dementia, love someone with dementia, or want to meet others who support a dementia-friendly community, you are invited to attend.
The event is offered in partnership by Shadowland, Click! Design That Fits, the Senior Center of West Seattle, Full Life Care, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and Providence Mount St. Vincent.
Almost 80 years after Mary Anderson and her husband Lloyd Anderson co-founded what became outdoor giant REI in their Gatewood home, she has died at the age of 107. We obtained the photo above from REI, whose past presidents Dennis Madsen, Sally Jewell (also a West Seattleite), and Wally Smith are shown with Ms. Anderson at her centennial-birthday celebration. The company’s statement on her passing:
Mary’s legacy is deeply engrained in REI and her contributions to the outdoor community extend far beyond the co-op. REI and our employees are grateful to the Andersons for their dedication to REI and the incredible foundation they established. It is our honor to carry on their commitment more than 75 years later and beyond.
Mary Anderson and her husband also were Mountaineers; she was just 20 when they joined the club in 1929. The Mountaineers website tells her story, including how their quest to make it easier to get good-quality climbing gear led them to create the buyers’ cooperative that became REI, from which she retired in 1968. For years, their home in west Gatewood was headquarters to what is now a multibillion-dollar company. That house was renovated as part of site redevelopment at the turn of the millennium.
Anderson’s husband was the company’s president until 1971; he died in 2000 at age 98; the Seattle Times obituary for Ms. Anderson says she died March 27th and is survived by one of her two daughters and by two grandsons. No details on whether there will be a public memorial, REI told us.
Just announced by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce – the 2017 winners of the Westside Awards. Back in February, the Chamber invited you to nominate businesses and people for the four categories, and the awards go to:
Business of the Year:
Eldercare Consulting, LLC
Proprietor Patricia Throop helps families with their needs “to find competent, safe and appropriate solutions for their needs.” She also volunteers and sits on several boards.
Emerging Business of the Year:
Peel & Press
(At right, Peel & Press proprietor Dan Austin, whose restaurant is in its third year at 6503 California SW in Morgan Junction. He’s been a catalyst for a variety of community projects and is currently working on a project meant to result in the restoration of the historic mural on the west side of the building that is home to his business and four others.)
Not-for-Profit of the Year:
Southwest Youth & Family Services
SWYFS’s role in the community – and its geographic presence – has continued to grow, as we detailed in a conversation with its longtime executive director Steve Daschle last fall. The many services they provide include education and health care, and they are one of the largest local nonprofits working with vulnerable populations such as immigrants and refugees.
Westsider of the Year:
Maria is a fixture in the West Seattle community, in no small part because of her roles with organizations including WestSide Baby and the West Seattle YMCA. Currently she works with Seattle University.
Girl Scout generosity and resourcefulness were on display at West Seattle (Admiral) Library Thursday afternoon. Troop 44398 members were putting together more than 200 craft kits to donate to kids who are getting care at Children’s Hospital, inspired by a desire to help after finding out that one troop member’s sister would be going there for brain-tumor treatment. Assembling the kits was an intense amount of work!
This was an all-West Seattle enterprise, as the kits to make polka-dot lanterns were from West Seattle-based Trendy Crafts, whose co-founder Julie Rasmussen says they “can be easily crafted from a hospital bed.”
11:03 PM: On partner site White Center Now, we’re covering a shooting that happened in WC about half an hour ago. A man has serious but not life-threatening injuries. The shooter is said to have fled north toward Roxbury so Seattle Police are helping with a wide-ranging search in case he’s in West Seattle. Updates as we get them.
12:04 AM: No further information from KCSO, but we expect to get more details later this morning and will update here and on WCN.
22 years after four Seattle firefighters died in the Mary Pang warehouse arson, the loss continues to loom large for SFD. The department’s Joint Training Facility in southeast West Seattle has a new memorial to the lost firefighters, thanks to a local Eagle Scout who officially presented it at a ceremony this afternoon.
Ben Beale is an 18-year-old O’Dea HS senior who is a member of West Seattle Troop 282. He and his troop were at the JTF this afternoon along with SFD Chief Harold Scoggins (with Ben in the photo above) and other SFD representatives, including firefighter Isaac Rivera, who introduced Ben and worked with him on the project, for which Seattle Fire Fighters Union IAFF Local 27 was also acknowledged:
Before the ceremony, we asked Ben how he first heard of the Pang arson tragedy, which happened years before he was born. He explained that his brother also had created a memorial which was on display at West Seattle’s Fire Station 32 (and will be returned when the new FS 32 is complete). He decided to make one for the JTF.
Along with a small-scale model of Hai Ying Wu‘s Occidental Square memorial sculpture, its materials include rock, rope, and rough-hewn wood, to show the challenging circumstances in which firefighters risk their lives. “Firefighters work hard, and find a way to get things done,” he noted.
Ben’s project will be permanently on display in the JTF administration building’s main hallway. While it’s not routinely open to the public, the building does host some public events (such as community meetings in the past year related to the nearby Myers Way Parcels), so look for it if you go to one.
Toward the end of the first day of the Washington Global Issues Network conference at Chief Sealth International High School, West Seattle climate activist Aji Piper, 16, took the stage as a keynoter.
The question he started with was simple: “How did I get involved in the environmental movement and why?”
The answers, complex. We recorded his almost-hour-long speech on video:
Piper spoke about his work, from early participation in Plant for the Planet, to being one of what are now 21 young plaintiffs suing the federal government over its failure to protect their rights to clean air and water.
“Climate change means life as we know it will change,” he declared. And he recounted some life-changing climate events that have rocked the globe already, from 314+ square miles of wildfire damage last year – “more than 152,000 football fields” – to storms like Hurricane Sandy.
“I thought about my home. What did this all mean for the people and places I love? What do I do with this knowledge? … I’m one person in a world of 7 billion people. What am I going to do about this?”
What he has done in the past several years started with planting trees to writing and performing protest songs with a ukulele, as he learned about new issues including oil trains and Arctic drilling. To challenge the latter, he wrote and performed a protest song, with his ukulele, at a Seattle Port Commission meeting (his slide for this featured a framegrab of WSB video from that 2015 meeting). And he joined in the “kayaktivism” off West Seattle’s shore as the Polar Pioneer drilling rig floated in.
He got involved with Earth Guardians.
And then there was the lawsuit, which, he said, hasn’t gone to trial yet, but has had several hearings. (He and his co-plaintiffs have had international publicity because of it.) They’re representing everyone in the U.S., he asserted, saying we all have rights to clean water and air, and “a livable future.”
WAGIN continues Saturday at Sealth, with the ~100 student attendees from all over the state spending the day in workshops and hearing from three more keynote speakers, including Seattle activist and mayoral candidate Nikkita Oliver toward day’s end. This is the second time in three years that Sealth has hosted the conference.
Two recent Saturdays, you were invited to donate items at Hope Lutheran Church to help refugee families. Tonight, we have a wrapup and thank-you message from organizers:
A tremendous thank you to both our community and our congregation for the response to our collection of items for the Refugee Kits. We are happy to send the following items to Lutheran Community Services to aid in helping incoming refugee families:
8 personal care kits, 25 kitchen kits, 16 bathroom kits, 3 teapots, 12 blankets, 5 throws, 7 sets of sheets, one pillow, two crock pots, large box of extra kitchen items, large box of feminine products, large box of personal care items.
What a beautiful example of loving others as ourselves! Thank you!
Above are the West Seattle/Fauntleroy YMCA‘s current and future leaders – Josh Sutton and Shalimar Gonzales, photographed at the Y’s Triangle headquarters this morning. This announcement from the Y (a longtime WSB sponsor) explains:
The West Seattle & Fauntleroy YMCA will be changing executive leadership this spring, with Shalimar Gonzales coming over from the Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA and Josh Sutton headed to the Bellevue Family YMCA.
These moves are part of a larger Seattle YMCA reorganization to ensure continued strong programs and services locally and success for our 2020 Opportunities for All Campaign, including the completed new Sammamish Y and the West Seattle Y’s expansion and renovation. A new Kent Y that will break ground in 2018 and the University Y are major projects still in the works, and Josh will also manage the construction for the Kent YMCA.
“It’s been an amazing time here and I’m so happy with all we’ve gotten done,” says Josh, “I’m thankful for the educational & youth programs we have established in schools, the support of the community as we raised over $4 million locally for our expansion and renovation- just fantastic. I’m especially pleased to have Shalimar here next – she’s a great Y leader for our West Seattle community.”
Shalimar brings nearly 15 years of Y leadership to her new role, most recently as the executive of the Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA in the Central area of Seattle. “I’m excited to hit the ground running in West Seattle as the board, staff, and community continue to develop what it means to be a YMCA in the 21st century.”
The two executives began planning the transition earlier this month, along with the West Seattle & Fauntleroy Y Board. Josh will wrap up his work at the end of March, with Shalimar coming over in the following weeks.
Gary Potter, current Board Chair, shares: “We thank Josh for his steadfast and positive leadership throughout his many years here. Our Y is in a great position to serve the growing and changing needs of West Seattle because of his work. We’re excited to partner with Shalimar as we look forward to what the community needs next from our YMCA.”
Sutton has been leading the West Seattle Y since 2001, and working with the regional organization since the mid-’80s, preceded by years of Y membership and volunteering while growing up in our area.
Thanks to Kevin McMahan for the photos and report:
Scouts from West Seattle’s Troop 282 were working in the rain for seven hours today on a conservation service project at the Van Asselt Community Center. Their efforts count toward the prestigious 50 Miler Award which they are working toward. Special thanks to the Seattle Parks Department and Mr. Paul Smith for his mentorship.
The troop is in its seventh decade, according to its online history.
Got a little time to spare today for your community – something you can do right where you are right now? It’s the second-to-last day to nominate businesses/people for this year’s Westside Awards, presented by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, which sent this reminder:
West Seattle is home to many remarkable people and successful and innovative businesses with amazing stories. We need your input. Each year the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce looks to the West Seattle Community to nominate businesses and individuals for the annual Westside Awards. The recipients from past years listed below.
Westside Business of the Year
Westside Emerging Business of the Year
Westside Not-for-Profit of the Year
Westsider of the Year
Deadline for Nominations: March 6th
Your input is valuable because the number of votes is not the criteria for winning. Criteria includes how the candidate:
Demonstrates the highest standards
Promotes diversity, equality, and inclusiveness
Demonstrates a consistent commitment to environmental sustainability
Takes a leadership role in the community
There is always room for anything else you would like to share. On March 7th, your nominations and comments will be submitted to the selection committee and on May 4th the recipients will receive their award. Everyone is invited to attend!
For a few festive moments tonight, a milestone birthday celebration at OutWest Bar went outdoors for a flash mob! Sindy Todo was celebrating the big 6-5 – that’s Sindy above in gold, and below (note the cap – and the matching dresses!) with Dolly Madison, who performs at OutWest on Saturday nights:
And of course there was dancing:
Thanks to Jill for the tip, and happy birthday, Sindy!
Every small, family-owned business has a story. Recently, the one behind New Leaf Bistro in The Admiral District turned tragic. Less than a year and a half after opening the restaurant in the former Royal India Grill space, co-proprietors Geoffrey Ly and Shi Qiu Chen found out in December that Geoffrey had “a very aggressive cancer,” customer and friend Suzanne Krom writes. “His doctors started treatment but it quickly overwhelmed his system, and on January 29th, he died. He was only 55 years old.”
The couple has two young children, 10-year-old Angelina and 8-year-old Kelvin. Chen is now raising them alone and running the restaurant, a 17-hour-a-day job.
When Suzanne found out about Geoffrey’s death, she wanted to do something to help, something with which the community could help too. So today she launched a GoFundMe page. She writes that “the business and family are in jeopardy. Friends have rallied around her and customers who know about the loss of Geoffrey have been supportive too. But it’s not enough, which is why we have set up this GoFundMe page. Any donations of any size are welcome. We have a goal of $30,000 to help Shi Qiu pay for Geoffrey’s funeral costs. … Shi Qiu and her children will be eternally grateful for any help they receive. It will help make this tragedy something they can recover from. And it will feel like Geoffrey is indeed watching over them, making sure they are going to be okay.”
Mr. Ly’s West Seattle ties, by the way, went beyond New Leaf Bistro; as we reported when it opened, he also operated Hunan Express in Morgan Junction at the turn of the millennium. Again, if you’d like to help, the GoFundMe page is here.